South Carolina - Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor with 1 of 9 Aggravators
Title 16, Ch. 3, Art. 1, Sec. 16-3-665


SECTION 16-3-655. Criminal sexual conduct with a minor; aggravating and mitigating circumstances; penalties; repeat offenders.

(A) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree if:

(1) the actor engages in sexual battery with a victim who is less than eleven years of age; or

(2) the actor engages in sexual battery with a victim who is less than sixteen years of age and the actor has previously been convicted of, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or adjudicated delinquent for an offense listed in Section 23-3-430(C) or has been ordered to be included in the sex offender registry pursuant to Section 23-3-430(D).

(B) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree if:

(1) the actor engages in sexual battery with a victim who is fourteen years of age or less but who is at least eleven years of age; or

(2) the actor engages in sexual battery with a victim who is at least fourteen years of age but who is less than sixteen years of age and the actor is in a position of familial, custodial, or official authority to coerce the victim to submit or is older than the victim. However, a person may not be convicted of a violation of the provisions of this item if he is eighteen years of age or less when he engages in illicit but consensual sexual conduct with another person who is at least fourteen years of age. In addition, mistake of age may be used as a defense.

(C)(1) A person convicted of a violation of subsection (A)(1) is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for a mandatory minimum of twenty-five years, no part of which may be suspended or probation granted, or must be imprisoned for life. In the case of a person pleading guilty or nolo contendere to a violation of subsection (A)(1), the judge must make a specific finding on the record regarding whether the type of conduct that constituted the sexual battery involved sexual or anal intercourse by a person or intrusion by an object. In the case of a person convicted at trial for a violation of subsection (A)(1), the judge or jury, whichever is applicable, must designate as part of the verdict whether the conduct that constituted the sexual battery involved sexual or anal intercourse by a person or intrusion by an object. If the person has previously been convicted of, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or adjudicated delinquent for first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor who is less than eleven years of age or a federal or out-of-state offense that would constitute first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor who is less than eleven years of age, he must be punished by death or by imprisonment for life, as provided by this section. For the purpose of determining a prior conviction under this subsection, the person must have been convicted of, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or adjudicated delinquent on a separate occasion, prior to the instant adjudication, for first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor who is less than eleven years of age or a federal or out-of-state offense that would constitute first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor who is less than eleven years of age. In order to be eligible for the death penalty pursuant to this section, the sexual battery constituting the current offense and any prior offense must have involved sexual or anal intercourse by a person or intrusion by an object. If any prior offense that would make a person eligible for the death penalty pursuant to this section occurred prior to the effective date of this act and no specific finding was made regarding the nature of the conduct or is an out-of-state or federal conviction, the determination of whether the sexual battery constituting the prior offense involved sexual or anal intercourse by a person or intrusion by an object must be made in the separate sentencing proceeding provided by this section and proven beyond a reasonable doubt and designated in writing by the judge or jury, whichever is applicable. If the judge or jury, whichever is applicable, does not find that the prior offense involved sexual or anal intercourse by a person or intrusion by an object, then the person must be sentenced to imprisonment for life. For purposes of this subsection, imprisonment for life means imprisonment until death.

(2) A person convicted of a violation of subsection (A)(2) is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not less than ten years nor more than thirty years, no part of which may be suspended or probation granted.

(3) A person convicted of a violation of subsection (B) is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than twenty years according to the discretion of the court.

(D) If the State seeks the death penalty, upon conviction or adjudication of guilt of a defendant pursuant to this section, a statutory aggravating circumstance is found beyond a reasonable doubt pursuant to subsections (D)(1) and (D)(2), and a recommendation of death is not made, the trial judge must impose a sentence of life imprisonment. For purposes of this section, "life imprisonment" means until death of the offender without the possibility of parole, and when requested by the State or the defendant, the judge must charge the jury in his instructions that life imprisonment means until the death of the defendant without the possibility of parole. No person sentenced to life imprisonment, pursuant to this subsection, is eligible for parole, community supervision, or any early release program, nor is the person eligible to receive any work credits, education credits, good conduct credits, or any other credits that would reduce the mandatory life imprisonment required by this section. Under no circumstances may a female who is pregnant be executed, so long as she is pregnant or for a period of at least nine months after she is no longer pregnant. When the Governor commutes a sentence of death imposed pursuant to this section to life imprisonment under the provisions of Section 14 of Article IV of the Constitution of South Carolina, 1895, the commutee is not eligible for parole, community supervision, or any early release program, nor is the person eligible to receive any work credits, good conduct credits, education credits, or any other credits that would reduce the mandatory imprisonment required by this subsection.

(1) When the State seeks the death penalty, upon conviction or adjudication of guilt of a defendant pursuant to this section, the court shall conduct a separate sentencing proceeding. In the proceeding, if a statutory aggravating circumstance is found, the defendant must be sentenced to either death or life imprisonment. The proceeding must be conducted by the trial judge before the trial jury as soon as practicable after the lapse of twenty-four hours unless waived by the defendant. If trial by jury has been waived by the defendant and the State, or if the defendant pled guilty, the sentencing proceeding must be conducted before the judge. In the sentencing proceeding, the jury or judge shall hear additional evidence in extenuation, mitigation, or aggravation of the punishment. Only such evidence in aggravation as the State has informed the defendant in writing before the trial is admissible. This section must not be construed to authorize the introduction of any evidence secured in violation of the Constitution of the United States, or the State of South Carolina, or the applicable laws of either. The State, the defendant, and his counsel are permitted to present arguments for or against the sentence to be imposed. The defendant and his counsel shall have the closing argument regarding the sentence to be imposed.

(2) In sentencing a person, upon conviction or adjudication of guilt of a defendant pursuant to this section, the judge shall consider, or he shall include in his instructions to the jury for it to consider, mitigating circumstances otherwise authorized or allowed by law and the following statutory aggravating and mitigating circumstances which may be supported by the evidence:

(a) Statutory aggravating circumstances:

(i) The victim's resistance was overcome by force.

(ii) The victim was prevented from resisting the act because the actor was armed with a dangerous weapon.

(iii) The victim was prevented from resisting the act by threats of great and immediate bodily harm, accompanied by an apparent power to inflict bodily harm.

(iv) The victim is prevented from resisting the act because the victim suffers from a physical or mental infirmity preventing his resistance.

(v) The crime was committed by a person with a prior conviction for murder.

(vi) The offender committed the crime for himself or another for the purpose of receiving money or a thing of monetary value.

(vii) The offender caused or directed another to commit the crime or committed the crime as an agent or employee of another person.

(viii) The crime was committed against two or more persons by the defendant by one act, or pursuant to one scheme, or course of conduct.

(ix) The crime was committed during the commission of burglary in any degree or kidnapping.